Cruise is an outspoken advocate for the Church of Scientology and its associated social programs. He became involved with Scientology in 1990 through his first wife, Mimi Rogers.He has said that Scientology, specifically the L. Ron Hubbard Study Tech, helped him overcome dyslexia.In addition to promoting various programs that introduce people to Scientology, Cruise has campaigned for Scientology to be recognized as a religion in Europe. In 2005, the Paris city council revealed that Cruise had lobbied officials Nicolas Sarkozy and Jean Claude Gaudin, described him as a spokesman and militant for Scientology, and barred any further dealings with him.Cruise co founded and raised donations for Downtown Medical to offer New York City 9 11 rescue workers detoxification therapy based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard. This drew criticism from the medical profession, as well as firefighters.For these activities and others, David Miscavige, the leader of Scientology, created the Scientologys Freedom Medal of Valor and awarded it to Cruise in late 2004.
In January 2004, Tom Cruise said I think psychiatry should be outlawed.A controversy erupted in 2005 after he openly criticized actress Brooke Shields for using the drug Paxil (paroxetine), an anti depressant to which Shields attributes her recovery from postpartum depression after the birth of her first daughter in 2003. Cruise asserted that there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance, and that psychiatry is a form of pseudoscience. Shields responded that Cruise should stick to saving the world from aliens and let women who are experiencing postpartum depression decide what treatment options are best for them.This led to a heated argument between Matt Lauer and Cruise on NBCs Today on June 24, 2005.Medical authorities view Cruises comments as furthering the social stigma of mental illness.Shields herself called Cruises comments a disservice to mothers everywhere.In late August 2006, Cruise apologized in person to Shields for his comments.Scientology is well known for its opposition to mainstream psychiatry and the medication it implements.
On January 15, 2008, a video produced by the Church of Scientology featuring an interview with Cruise was posted on YouTube, showing Cruise discussing what being a Scientologist means to him. The Church of Scientology said the video had been pirated and edited, and was taken from a three hour video produced for members of Scientology. YouTube removed the Cruise video from their site under threat of litigation.After YouTube investigated this claim, they found that the video did not breach copyright law, as it is covered by the fair use clause. It was subsequently reinstated back on the site, and as of January 2014, the video has achieved 9 million views. YouTube has declined to remove it again, due to the popularity of the video, and subsequent changes to copyright policy of the website.In March 2004 his publicist of 14 years, Pat Kingsley, resigned. Cruise replaced her with his sister, fellow Scientologist Lee Anne DeVette, who served in that role until November 2005. DeVette was replaced with Paul Bloch from the publicity firm Rogers and Cowan. Such restructuring is seen as a move to curtail publicity of his views on Scientology, as well as the controversy surrounding his relationship with Katie Holmes.In 2013 Cruise admitted that ex wife Katie Holmes divorced him in part to protect the couples daughter Suri from Scientology. He also admitted that Suri is no longer a practicing member of the church.